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Vitamin D Lowers Respiratory Infections in the Elderly But Increases the Risk of Falls

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Highlights
  • Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption and lowers bone disorders, falls, and cardiovascular diseases.
  • High doses of Vitamin D lowers the risk of respiratory illness.
  • Acute respiratory illness has been lowered by 40% with supplementation of Vitamin D.

Vitamin D Lowers Respiratory Infections in the Elderly But Increases the Risk of Falls

The prevalence of acute respiratory illness (ARI) in the elderly is lowered with high doses of vitamin D supplementation.

Effects of High Doses of Vitamin D
The clinical trial was carried out over a period of one year. A total of 107 patients with an average age of 84 have been selected and divided into two groups.

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The first group (55 patients) were given high dosages of about 3,300-4,300 units of vitamin D daily,whereas, the second group (52 patients) received low dosages of about 400 -1,000 units of vitamin D.

Prof.Ginde said, "After studying these patients for a year, we found a 40 percent reduction in acute respiratory illness among those who took higher doses of vitamin D." Simultaneously, high doses of vitamin D increased the rate of falls in the elderly. But lowering the levels of vitamin D reduced the falls.
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Functions of Vitamin D

Vitamin D is a fat-soluble vitamin and can be produced in the body from exposure to sunlight. This sunshine vitamin plays a critical role in the body's use of calcium and phosphorous.

Vitamin D improves the amounts of calcium absorption in the small intestine to help in the formation and maintenance of bones.

Vitamin D supports the body by playing a role in immunity and controls the growth of the cell.

Children especially need adequate amounts of vitamin D to develop strong bones and healthy teeth.

Some other functions comprise of:

  • Muscle function
  • Brain development
  • Anti-cancer effects
  • Helps fight infection
  • Keeps the lungs and airways healthy
  • Improves circulation
Vitamin D Prevents Various Diseases

"Vitamin D can improve the immune system's ability to fight infections because it bolsters the first line of defense of the immune system," said Prof.Ginde.

Pneumonia, influenza, bronchitis and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) like emphysema can be prevented with supplementation of vitamin D. Other respiratory illnesses in elderly are sinusitis and asthma.

"This finding requires a confirmatory trial, including whether high daily doses of vitamin D, rather than high monthly doses, makes patients less likely to fall," Ginde said, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Vitamin D Requirements

An adequate intake of vitamin D for the age groups of both men and women are:

  Below <50 years= 200 IU
  50-70 years= 400 IU
  Above >70 years = 600 IU

Sources That Provide Vitamin D

  • Sunlight
  • Egg yolks
  • Cheese
  • Cereals
  • Soy milk
  • Dairy products
  • Fatty fish like tuna, mackerel and salmon


Source: Medindia

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